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Talent Management Employee Engagement

Top 5 Reasons Why Employees Leave

April 5, 2022
6 min read
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Tips For Tackling Employee Engagement


It’s a question that’s on your mind any time an employee submits their resignation, or when you hear about a phenomenon like the Great Resignation: why do employees leave? How long did it take to make the decision to quit? What did their pros and cons list look like? What was the deciding factor?

These questions are more relevant than ever as 65% of employees consider moving jobs this year. Figuring out the answers can also have a real impact: 52% of employees who left their jobs voluntarily said their manager could have done something to prevent their departure. Let’s dive into some of the main reasons employees leave and why it’s so important to address the causes of employee turnover.

65% of employees are thinking about quitting this year. But do you know why? Read up on the 5 reasons employees leave their jobs and how you can better #retain them

Why is Employee Retention Important?

It may be a hot topic right now, but retaining top employee talent is important even when we’re not seeing an upheaval in the job market. The benefits of employee retention include:

  • Lower hiring costs 
  • Maintaining institutional knowledge
  • Higher employee morale and engagement
  • Indicates positive company culture and high job satisfaction
  • Increased productivity  
  • Less time spent onboarding and training new employees

A high turnover rate can indicate larger problems within a company and may be a result of many factors, including:

  • Company culture and values that don’t align
  • Lack of employee engagement
  • Lack of appreciation and recognition of employees

Low retention rates can then lead to issues that impact business performance immensely: 

  • Lower quality of work, product, or service
  • Decreased customer satisfaction
  • Less institutional knowledge retention
  • Increased hiring costs 
  • Less time for HR to focus on strategic work, including retention efforts

Some of the reasons employees leave can be hard to compete with — you can’t match the employee’s new salary offer or they’re changing industries altogether. But more often than not, you can address what makes employees leave. That’s why today we’re sharing some of the top reasons employees quit. Retain your top talent by understanding what could make them leave and how to make changes so they don’t.

1. Work-Life Balance

You might think pay would be the top reason employees leave a job, but better work-life balance consistently ranks ahead of compensation. It’s the number one priority for 63% of job seekers, compared to 60% who say pay is most important. Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report found that for 53% of employees, better work-life balance is “very important” when considering a new position. 

Suffice to say, work-life balance is the deciding factor for most people when they decide where to work. Keep your existing employees by asking them how they feel about their current work-life balance, which you can do with anonymous employee surveys. If the results show that employees are dissatisfied with their work-life balance, you have the chance to make positive changes. 

2. Compensation

Did you know?

  • 46% of women are looking for a higher salary in their job search vs. 34% of men
  • 82% of Hispanic and 67% of Black employees are seeking a higher salary vs. 57% of white/non-Hispanic employees

To no one’s surprise, better pay is a leading reason employees take a new job. But did you know that employees who are women and those who are Hispanic or Black are more likely to be seeking a higher salary compared to men and white, non-Hispanic employees? That’s likely because of pay gaps that exist between men and women and white and non-white workers.

The best way to ensure that employees aren’t leaving due to pay gaps is to honestly evaluate compensation at your organization. Ensure that you’re paying all employees equally and in line with their role and experience level.

3. Flexible Hours and Remote Work

We all know that the pandemic has changed the way employees work. In early 2020, we learned that remote work and flexible schedules didn’t negatively impact productivity or morale. In fact, they quickly became a preference, and often a requirement, for job seekers. Since 2019, the number of job postings that mention flexibility has jumped by 83%, and those posts receive 35% higher engagement.

Flexibility at work leads to happier employees who are more likely to recommend your company to others. It’s also a top reason employees would switch jobs. Find out more:

Your employees are 2.1 times more likely to recommend that others work at your company when they’re satisfied with the flexibility of their work environment and hours. They’re also 2.6 times happier, a key factor in long-term retention. Find out how your employees feel to see if your company needs to reevaluate its flexible work policies.

4. Career Development

Career development is typically ranked among pay and work-life balance as a top deciding factor in switching jobs. 94% of employees would consider staying with a company longer if it invested in their growth. It’s especially important to younger generations of workers — 41% of millennials would change jobs for professional development opportunities vs. 27% of Gen X and baby boomers. According to Gallup, supporting employee development drives their performance, motivation, and ultimately, better business outcomes.

Did you know? 94% of employees would consider staying with a company longer if it invested in their growth.

5. Lack of Engagement

There are many reasons employees may not feel engaged at work, most stemming from the causes of turnover we’ve discussed in this article. It’s easy to see that if an employee feels that they have a poor work-life balance, an insufficient salary, lack flexibility, and have no opportunities to advance, they’re unlikely to feel engaged with their work.

That’s why measuring engagement can be so beneficial. Engaged employees are 59% less likely to look for a new job. When you can identify engaged employees, you can find out what is keeping them most engaged and learn more about what could draw even the most engaged team members to a new company. You can also find ways to boost engagement if employees indicate that they’re feeling disconnected.

You can use employee surveys to learn a lot about how your employees feel. Then, you can implement employee retention strategies based on the insights you gain:

  • Employee engagement surveys to measure sentiment across the company
  • eNPS surveys to learn about job satisfaction levels
  • DEI surveys to find out if employees feel a sense of belonging 
  • Emotional wellbeing surveys to understand how employees are feeling

ClearCompany’s Employee Engagement Platform has tools you can use to find out what employees need to stay at your company, support those needs, and prioritize employee retention. Try out employee surveys, learn the value of a recognition program, and see how goal-setting tools keep employees connected and engaged.

Sign up for a demo of ClearCompany’s Employee Engagement solutions today.

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